The Media Market

The economic system of Kosovo influences its media sector, shaping funding sources and affecting media independence and sustainability. The relationship between government funding and media autonomy remains an important issue, and ongoing efforts are needed to ensure a balanced and transparent media environment in the country.

To provide an overview, the Gross National Income (GNI) stands at approximately $9,524,069.78 as of 2022, with a GNI per capita (Atlas method) of $5,590. The unemployment rate in the fourth quarter of 2022 was 11.8%. The state debt reached 1.7 billion euros, marking a 4.8% increase from the previous year. The average salary in 2022 was 521 euros.

The media landscape in Kosovo has a unique relationship with the country's economy. Media outlets often rely on advertising for their revenue, a source that can be distributed non-transparently and in a partisan manner, often with influence from government and political parties. Additionally, private media outlets may face pressures from powerful political or business entities through their owners. Serbian-language media in Kosovo confront market limitations, leading to some reliance on support from neighbouring Serbia, while independent media depend on international grants for survival. This lack of financial self-sustainability leaves media outlets vulnerable to political and business interests, exacerbated by the absence of information and data on media ownership beneficiaries, which is yet to be enshrined into law.

The primary funding source for media in Kosovo is advertising, estimated at around 15 million euros. Notably, the public broadcaster operates with a budget of under 10 million euros, while there is no official data on  other media outlets’ financial standing. Government funding, particularly for the public broadcaster, raises concerns about impartiality and institutional autonomy. Serbian-language media face funding challenges, and as of 2020, Kosovo no longer has printed daily newspapers due to technological advancements, financial constraints, and the pandemic's impact. While official data on ad revenues is lacking, online media often rely on these sources for sustainability.

The European Union (EU), plays a significant role in supporting the media sector in Kosovo, with ongoing assistance amounting to EUR 2 million. An additional EUR 13.5 million is earmarked for media freedom support in the Western Balkans region for the 2021-2023 period, while other donor organisations also provide support to media freedom and investigative journalism.

Government funding for media in Kosovo includes the Radio Television of Kosovo (RTK), whose allocated budget for 2022 was 8.96 million euros. However, concerns have been raised about the adequacy of this budget and similarly the budget for  2023 faced criticism for being the smallest in the last decade, raising concerns about mismanagement.

The Office for Community Affairs at the Office of the Prime Minister allocated 100,000 euros to non-governmental organisations and media through an open call to support projects and programs for improving the employment of non-majority community members. Out of this, 50,100 euros were allocated to eight non-majority and community media, with the possibility of distributing the remaining funds in subsequent calls. Data on state advertising is currently unavailable.

In recent years, the Kosovo government has allocated funds to various media outlets for advertising and promotion purposes. In 2018, the Ministry of Trade and Industry spent 45,000 euros on contracts with 25 online media outlets. The Ministry of Economic Development entered into agreements with 40 online media outlets in 2017. Other ministries, including the Ministry of Social Welfare, Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport, Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, Ministry of Agriculture, and Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, have also spent funds on online media marketing.

  • Project by
    Global Media Registry
    Funded by European Union